New Zealand Born EMILY VALENTINE has been exhibiting her unique feathered objects and jewellery since 1999, building on her earlier success as an art jeweller. She has exhibited widely in both New Zealand and Australia, with a number of prestigious awardsto her name.
Emily writes: Attitudes to wearing birds parts have changed. Is this just because of fashion, or has society become more caring of animals? I want to confront the viewer with the uncomfortable nature of the feather, to question our callousness treatment of animals and birds, and ask how we sub-consciously classify animals – pet or pest, valued or worthless, beautiful or plain.
Feathers are my paint and the source of the feathers is vital to the work. In 1999 I made Road Kill, a pair of shoes using feathers from a road kill lorikeet and this led to my continuing use of this source when ever I can. I was awarded the World of Wearable Art, WOW Factor Award, with Sulphur Crested Frockatoo in New Zealand in 2014, which attracted the attention of Prince Charles and Camilla and worldwide press in 2016. I have been trapping the registered pest, the Indian Mynah bird, and using the feathers. With these, I made Mynah Collie 2007, a feathered dog which was awarded a merit prize in the Norseweart, the New Zealand Contemporary Art Award. Dead pets are also a source. The death of my own two budgies inspired me to make Budgerigar Brassiere, which won the Mac’s Bizarre Bra award at the WorldofWearableArt in 2002. This led me on to make work about the breast. Two bras were shown in the JOC (Jewellery Out of Context) exhibition which toured internationally. The Lorikeet Brassiere is included in this exhibition along with the original Road Kill lorikeet feathered shoes.